NEWSFLASH! My book hits the road! Did you miss my Channel 7 Weekend Sunrise 'Downunder Dunnies' appearance? Watch the Video HERE!

Saturday

Drama Queen Dreaming ... Ballina, New South Wales

Surf's UP at Sharpes Beach, Ballina, New South Wales


Being a drama queen is a good thing, right??

So the naturally monochromatic landscape of a stormy day on Australia's east coast where an offshore low made mountains of the waves and piled the sky high with clouds thrilled my little DQ soul to bits.


Sharpes Beach Surfers catch the waves, Ballina, New South Wales
And has given me a rare opportunity to silence those who, based on my photos, ask if it ever actually rains anywhere downunder!!

In the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales where accessories like mobile phones, handbags and i-pads are replaced by fishing rods, guitars and surfboards, a stormy day is no reason to stay indoors.

Surfing Sharpes Beach, Ballina, New South Wales


In fact, it's apparently perfect surfing weather!!

And so, as the sparkling blues and greens and the light that catches the waves (and the odd whale) on a fine day are replaced by the greys of sky, mist and sea; the whites of surf, cloud and spray, and the blacks of rock, wetsuit and breakwall in and endless variations of the monochrome palette, I ask you this.

Which is better?



Looking north from Skennars Head on a clear day, Ballina, New South Wales

Of course, to a true DQ, the answer is obvious ...

The thrilling compulsion of watching surfers pick their way through the rocks as waves crash all around, then paddle out through a monochromatic monster sea satisfies my DQ soul far more than seeing the same scene in blue and green.  No matter how perfect!

Then, just down the coast from where the Sharpes Beach surfers rocked the waves, the scene at the South Ballina Breakwall, where the mighty Richmond River enters the sea stirred my DQ photographic heart with a mixture of elation - and apprehension.


South Ballina Breakwall, Northern New South Wales


But being a drama queen isn't just about watching from the sidelines.  It means embracing whatever the dramatics bring - even if it's an unwelcome bout of stormy weather.  And that's a good thing, right??

RIGHT!

Read MORE:

Monday

Strange Risks at Sawn Rocks, Narrabri, New South Wales


Sawn Rocks, Mt Kaputar National Park, New South Wales
'You'd be REALLY unlucky to be underneath when a rock column fell,' the Grey Nomad to his wife as I stood, camera pointed up at the rock face directly above me, waiting for the sun.

They laughed merrily.

None of those rocks look loose, do they??  DO THEY???  Sawn Rocks Close UP!


While the notoriety of being the first person killed by a falling organ-pipe column in living memory would get my name up in lights, it was an honour I'd gladly forgo. I shifted impatiently. Where WAS that sun when you wanted it??
 
Fallen Columns, Sawn Rocks
It's not like the Grey Nomads were exaggerating either. Strewn all around me in the rocky creek bed lay a mess of great fallen columns. The lichen and moss softened the edges, but could hide the unmistakeable size and shape so readily matching what hung from – what, exactly? – so high on the cliff above me.
The dearth of Greek temple ruins on the Narrabri plains in central New South Wales where the Sawn Rocks are found, meant the fallen columns could only have come from one place – the rocky wall above.

And the culprits? Plants growing in the fissures high above!

The MAGIC of Sawn Rocks, Mt Kaputar National Park, New South Wales
The phenomenon geologically known as 'organ-piping' is caused when a lava flow cools slowly and evenly so the forming crystals align perfectly, with the uniform shrinkage causing cracks that join up to form the columns. It's also known as columnar jointing!
 
But lest you think I've added 'geologist' to my ever expanding array of talents, and therefore that ANYONE can be a geologist, think again!
 
I've paraphrased from the information boards along the 750 metre walk from the carpark to the rocks!  Too easy!! 

In the shadow of Mt Kaputar, rising 1510 metres (4954 ft) and what's left of the Nandewar Shield Volcano that ruptured into virtual oblivion back in the dim distant past, the Sawn Rocks – rising high above the trees and plunging a reported 60 metres (196 ft) into the ground below – ROCK in the morning sunlight of a clear winter's day. At least they did until the clouds rolled in, just as I reached the best vantage point after clambering up the dodgy staircase formed by a few of the organ-pipes' fallen comrades.

Random Rocks in the Creek, Sawn Rocks, Mt Kaputar


So I waited for the clouds to roll away, and admired anew the clean lines of the rocks offset by the shadow at the base of each column that had fallen away. There was something soothing about the repetitive lines, colours and shadows that seemed familiar.

Sawn Rocks?  OR  Corrugated Iron??
Was it too fanciful to compare it to petrified corrugated iron?

The similarities were astounding. And the irony of a corrugated iron admirer being killed by a falling column of rock bearing an astonishing similarity to it didn't escape me either. The Grey Nomads left, bored of waiting for the fickle finger of fate to strike me down.

So there I was, in the middle of a deadly stand-off.
 
Would the sun come out before the deadly forces of karma struck and silenced my shutter forever??

Exploring this section of Mt Kaputar National Park had been a long time coming for Pilchard and I.
 
We'd driven through the region several times, and even stayed over once or twice. But while we'd checked out the Narrabri bakeries and even been to the Mt Kaputar summit, Sawn Rocks remained elusive.

Sawn Rocks, Mt Kaputar National Park, New South Wales
But now, in June 2013 the planets aligned and we were finally here. So perhaps meeting my fate here would be fitting …
 
And then, just as my thoughts were starting to sound positively depressing, the sun came out, I roused from my lethargy and my trigger shutter button finger went berserk!

All without a single rock fall ...

So maybe those morbid thoughts just mean I have a LOW boredom threshold, right?
Read MORE:

Tuesday

Lake Cullulleraine: So COOL it's HOT!


Late Afternoon from the Bushman's Rest Caravan Park at Lake Cullulleraine, Victoria
 
I'm not sure why it's never occurred to us to stop at Lake Cullulleraine, 58 km west of northern Mildura and deep in the heart of the Victorian Mallee.

Until now.
 
HHHMMMmmm... wonder how many others have captured this Lake Cullulleraine tree?!  Victoria


Only 3½ hours from Adelaide, Cullulleraine (as it is shown on more modern maps) is a perfect example of why it's SO worth exploring places not so far from home, something us long-distance road-trip experts tend not to do.


Misty Morning at Bushman's Rest Caravan Park, Lake Cullulleraine
So when we left home much later than anticipated, and spent an inordinately long lunchtime at the FAAAAABULOUS Renmark Patisserie Café/Bakery AND then crossed the border into Victoria thereby gaining half an hour, we realised we'd be getting to Mildura on dusk.

Something Pilchard swore we'd never do.
 
So we pulled in to the Bushman's Rest Caravan Park for a drive by.
 
That's a euphemism for 'check and see if it looks like it's full of psychos and axe murderers before we commit to staying', in case you were wondering … and if it doesn't pass the 'whaddayareckon' test, we – yes, you guessed it – drive on by!

This sign's doctored, right? RIGHT?????
Bushman's Rest passed with flying colours, despite the sign in the amenities block ... give me an alien over an axe murderer any day!  Although weirdly, there were no children in sight ... 

The manager then confirmed the 'pass' when, unprompted, he gave us a 10% discount!
 
Even without knowing he was speaking with Red Nomad OZ – although I guess this post will give the game away ...

The huge lawned lakefront site with power and a view to die for as the sun started sinking behind the clouds, far enough off the Sturt Highway to muffle the traffic noise and with no one else much around may mean we never stay in Mildura again!!

It also meant we stayed an extra day. Even though we woke to heavy fog and winter temperatures.

Cormorants in the Mist, Lake Cullulleraine, Victoria


A few kilometres north (although not enough to make any difference to the weather) is the Lock 9 weir, constructed in the mid 1920's and one of 13 locks along the Murray River (or River Murray, depending on which school you went to, and how long ago).
 
Lock 9 and its SIGN!  Murray River, Victoria
Absolute virgin territory (ie neither of us had been there before), it's a wild stretch where few houseboats venture.
 
Even if the sign at the lock warns of a different danger ...
 
Although Lake Cullulleraine is 9 metres above the river level, there's still a lot of floodplain in between the lake and the river that would have been inundated during the massive 1956 floods, the benchmark against which all floods in these parts are measured.  With 100 times the volume of water than that flowing through the river now!

The 184 hectare Lake, once an ephemeral wetland, has been topped up since the 1920's to provide a permanent water supply for a post-war farming scheme in the Millewa district.
 
Lake Cullulleraine Supply Channel, Victoria
 
The 10.4 km walking trail circumnavigating the lake (8.6 km if you take the shortcut across a peninsula!) passes through a number of habitats, over the Supply Channel Bridge AND – most unexpected of all – past a now disused Scenic Public Toilet on a rise behind the old boat ramp.

From which that killer sunset is best viewed …

Sunset over Lake Cullulleraine from the Scenic Public Toilet ruins, Victoria


As we relaxed on the lake front after our 8.6 km stroll (yes, we took the shortcut!), the manager gave his miniature float plane a workout from the jetty directly in front – presumably in preparation for the upcoming R/C Float Plane event to be held at Bushman's Rest in early July! Little did he know he – and his plane – would soon be appearing on my blog …

The Float Plane flies TOO HIGH!  Float-planning from Lake Cullulleraine Jetty, Bushman's Rest Caravan Park


Albeit separately - my sports photography skills being insufficient to get a clear shot of the plane in the air!
 
The Float Plane has Landed ...
As dusk fell, and countless Purple Swamphen gathered in anticipation of beating the possums to our leftovers, we knew we'd lucked out.

It had never before occurred to us to stop at Lake Cullulleraine.
 
But we won't be making that mistake again – we've still got the attractions on the southern side of the highway to explore!

And there's not an axe murderer in sight …

PS  Of course such awesome views deserve a second chance!  BUT ... was our SECOND visit as good as the FIRST??  Check out what happened exactly 5 weeks later when we visited Lake Cullulleraine again HERE!

 
Read MORE:

Walking around Lake Cullulleraine, Victoria

Thursday

6 Random Moments at the Broome Bird Observatory!

Blue Sky, Blue Sea - and RED Pindan, Roebuck Bay, Broome Bird Observatory

1 The Gun Birder*

As far as I could tell, driving a bouncing 4WD with 4 passengers along a rough station track in search of Australia's rarest bird wasn't cramping the gun birder's style one bit. All I could see were the vast, rolling plains of grass and samphire stretching to the horizon against an endless blue sky.

But our driver and guide on the Broome Bird Observatory Yellow Chat tour, unfazed by the spectacular scenery, could spot a bird at a hundred paces.

Calling birds to the left, right, in front and behind, he parked the 4WD at the massive lagoon, our destination and site of multiple Yellow Chat sightings, handed out the telescopes and set off at a brisk trot through the probably snake-ridden samphire towards the middle distance. The non-birdo Melbourne yuppie couple who'd joined us on the tour glanced at each other apprehensively. I was guessing the tour wasn't proving to be exactly what they'd thought.

A-birding we will go! Hunting the elusive Yellow Chat, via Broome Western Australia


Then I saw it. Over by the lagoon, a dark bird shape lurked on the shore! I pointed it out to Pilchard. And the yuppies. AND the GUN BIRDER! Who immediately trained a telescope in the general direction and invited me to step up and identify the bird. As if.

But I obligingly hoisted my camera out of the way and peered through the eye-piece, immediately diagnosing why the bird hadn't moved.

Because even when they're bird-shaped, pieces of driftwood rarely do.

At least the sudden and immediate loss of credibility left me free to take photos. And I DID see the elusive Yellow Chat – although YOU won't! Not here, anyway. They were too far away to get a good shot.

But who'd doubt a gun birder??

*Gun Birder = Birding expert
 
Low Tide at Roebuck Bay, Broome Bird Observatory, Western Australia

2 The Massive Blush

Warning Sign, Roebuck Bay
Although one of the most significant migratory shore bird sites in the world, where thousands of waders – more than 300 species – congregate each year, it's still apparently OK to drive along the pristine shores of Roebuck Bay.

Because successfully negotiating the huge 9+ metre tide, treacherous rocks, mangroves and soft sand hazards would REALLY give those driving skills a workout, wouldn't it?!

Having to phone a friend to pull you out when you're bogged might be a little embarrassing.
 
The tide rolls in ...
But then who do you call when BOTH of you are hopelessly bogged and that massive tide's rolling in??


Tide's out!
However, the chances of a massive all-body blush on the skipper who had to explain why two vehicles were trapped in the bay below the Broome Bird Observatory to the insurance company were actually very low.

Because from all accounts there WAS no insurance …

3 The Fog

In north-west western Australia's Broome region, the Indigenous Yawuru people's season of Barrgana is characterised by day after punishing day of endless blue sky, daytime maximum temperatures between 28° and 31° C, coolish nights and no rain.

Foggy Morning, Broome Bird Observatory, Western Australia


That's why the smart travellers head to Broome during the Aussie winter from June to August.

Fog and Dew - isn't this the DRY season?
The smart birders head to the Broome Bird Observatory in August as the temperatures increase because that's when the migrating wading birds start to arrive.

A change dropping the temperature by a few degrees was a welcome respite from the mini-heatwave in the depths of the moistureless and arid dry season.

But who knew an early morning fog would momentarily change the landscape into a magical wonderland??


4 The Birds, the BIRDS!

After my embarrassing sighting of the rare driftwood bird (see #1 above), I spent the rest of our BBO stay with my mouth firmly – and uncharacteristically – shut. I and my small camera with the non-detachable lens were decidedly outclassed by the big lens birding brigade, so my photos from the Broome Bird Observatory show embarrassingly few actual birds.

Maybe my big bird photography lens envy was cramping my style.

Mostly Red-necked Avocet - Spot the ODD one out!!!


As I swung our borrowed 'scope (that's 'telescope' for you non-birders out there) along the length of 'Wader Bay', the morass of what I thought to be pebbles and rocks at the waters edge jumped into focus to as hundreds and thousands of birds!!

But despite the excitement of clocking up lifer after lifer (birds we'd never seen before) through the magical magnification of 'scope and bins (binoculars!) the huge mixed flocks moving ever closer with the tides remained resolutely rock-like in my photos.

And in league with Yellow Chat, many birds unaccountably failed to present in perfect photographic pose, best side conveniently facing my looming lens.
 
Colours of Roebuck Bay, Western Australia
 

Is it so wrong to prefer mediocre landscape photography to mediocre wildlife photography?

Birds spotted at Broome Bird Observatory!

5 And the Birders ...

Those who know me will undoubtedly assure you I'd never be so impolite as to point out the faults of others (and you can probably hear them laughing wherever you are right now ...). 
 
NOT Birds - Mulla Mullas!!
NOT possessing the birding gene can work against one at the Broome Bird Observatory, but it isn't necessarily a character flaw! It's actually an advantage to budding anthropologists wishing to observe the ups and downs of daily life for participants in the extreme sport of bird-watching.

And causes endless amusement to those, who like me, have a fine sense of the ridiculous …
Of course it'd be rude to point out the birder's quirks, flaws and foibles.
 
So instead, I've listed a few observations to demonstrate the subtle differences between ME and the REAL birders:
  • Seeing a bird – ANY bird – in the distance isn't a signal to stop what I'm doing.
  • 'Eating' and 'Birdwatching' are mutually exclusive activities. So are 'Conversing' and 'Birdwatching'.
    Pindan Road to Broome Bird Observatory
  • I'm a recovering non-birder with a photographic fixation. Don't hate me because some of my photos don't have birds in them.
  • Call me crazy, but I've been known to select holiday destinations without knowing what birds I'll see there. And I collect brochures about attractions other than birding hotspots.
  • 'Good Morning' means 'Good Morning'. NOT 'How many birds have you seen already today and what were they?'
  • I don't know how many birds are on my 'lifer' list. No, I don't want – or need – any help with that.

6  Is the Sea Blue?  OR BROWN?!

Fresh from King Sound and the highest tides in the Southern Hemisphere, the school group from just up the coast in Derby descended on the Broome Bird Observatory viewing platform like a flock of rampaging emus.


Roebuck Bay at Low Tide, Western Australia
Any self-respecting bird would run a mile.

But the famous Roebuck Bay tranquillity slowly worked its magic. Well … that and a few well-chosen witticisms from the long-suffering teachers.

'Send me a postcard, mate,' one teacher called out over the hubbub to a young student indulging his not-so-secret passion for telescope wrangling.

'What, miss?' He turned, puzzled.

'Because if you keep that up, you'll be WALKING home to Derby,' she shot back at him.

Chastened, the group calmed and looked out over the famous blue, Blue, BLUE of the bay.

'Where's the mud, miss?' another student ventured.

This time I was puzzled. Until I recalled that not so far up the coast, the tidal movement of the 9th biggest tide in the world moves tonnes of mud up and down King Sound.

Brown Tide rolling in at Derby, Western Australia


So for these students brought up on its shores, the sea is BROWN! Who says travel doesn't broaden the mind?!?!

Tawny Frogmouth, Broome Bird Observatory
But hiding in the twisted branches of a tree just a few metres away from the fractured peace of this rollicking school excursion, Tawny Frogmouth slept on, safe in his daytime disguise ...

A few kilometres north of Broome and run by Birdlife Australia, the Broome Bird Observatory is a rare opportunity to explore a different side of Australia.  If you're not afraid to rub shoulders with birdos, the BBO offers accommodation, a camp-ground and tours to birding hotspots.


You don't have to be a twitcher (ie birdwatcher) to explore the stunning coastline, discover amazing wildlife and wildflowers, walk the trails through woodland habitats or relax around the evening campfire.

But if you DO get the chance to experience this staggeringly scenic hideaway, I bet you'll be back for more ...

Read MORE:
Roebuck Bay at Broome Bird Observatory, via Broome, Western Australia
 

Saturday

Surviving Nature's Window – Kalbarri National Park, Western Australia

Nature's Window, Kalbarri National Park, Western Australia



 



 
 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 
 


 
 
 
 
The sun wasn't that hot.  The track wasn't that long. The going wasn't that tough.

And yet, all along the short walk to Nature's Window, people were dropping like flies.

Despite the detailed warning signs above the steep staircase accessing the track below the gorge rim, the walk to Kalbarri National Park's favourite attraction looks deceptively easy.

View from Nature's Window over Murchison River, Kalbarri National Park


Nature's Window is a mere 400 m (1312 ft) from the car park. AND hikers straggling along the track towards the knot of people on the ridge below are clearly visible from the trailhead. AND the light breeze above the rim keeps the temperature mild.

So who WOULDN'T assume they could knock this walk over in shoes more appropriate to, say, streetwalking?

Without water?? A hat??? Or a reasonable level of fitness????

From Nature's Window Ledge, Kalbarri National Park, Western Australia
Below the rim, the temperature in the gorge is much higher and the sun beats down mercilessly with no breeze to cool the air. It's hot. It's stuffy. And the return walk is relentlessly uphill all the way.

Just like the warning sign said.

But surviving Nature's Window is easy.
 
Wear real shoes.
 
Carry water.
 
Take your time.
 
 And don't, under ANY circumstances, attempt the walk with a hangover!

Or use the countless spring wildflower photo opportunities as an excuse for multiple rest breaks ...

Kalbarri Sandstone
While awaiting our turn for the obligatory Nature's Window photo, the staggering view of the Murchison river far below, lazily curving around the rocky spur on which we stood was a momentary distraction from the bickering English honeymoon couple already in the fast lane to divorce.
 
And the backpacker with an impossibly complex camera that would have captured the amazing panorama superbly had he actually known how to use it.
 
And the bogan family from hell endlessly conversing about the sneakers they'd be buying when they got to Bali …
 
Undeterred by the above average probability our Window photos would bear an astonishing similarity to everyone else's, it was finally our turn to record our first Tumblagooda Sandstone experience despite the danger of cliché.
 
Spot Nature's Window carpark from the Loop Lookout! Kalbarri National Park, Western Australia
 

 
 
A few kilometres away, the Loop Lookout put Nature's Window into perspective. And also showcased the aggressively scenic – with a far greater risk of heatstroke – 8 km (5 mile) Loop trail winding down to the river below and starting and ending at the Window car park.

Next visit we'll take the necessary precautions to walk the Loop trail!  Leave early in the morning.  Carry food and water.  Wear appropriate clothing.  Don't walk with hung over backpackers.  And leave the stripper shoes at home ...
 
Another cliché shot of Nature's Window, Kalbarri National Park, Western Australia


But for now, we're content with surviving Nature's Window!

Read MORE:

Tuesday

Aussie ABC: N is for Nullarbor


Love at First Bight ... 1st land-level view of the Great Australian Bight, Eucla, Western Australia
 



I was 4 – nearly 5! – the first time I crossed the Nullarbor. Xmas day, and we were on the Indian Pacific* heading for Adelaide. We'd spent Xmas eve in a pub somewhere in rough as guts Western Australian gold-mining town Kalgoorlie, but I don't remember that – maybe I blanked it out …

In September 2012, I made my second Nullarbor crossing, this time by car along the Eyre Highway. And while it was hot, dry and dusty with a killer sand-laden wind fresh from the furnaces of hell, I couldn't suppress the frisson of excitement that travelling this iconic landscape gave.

Nullarbor's Western Edge - Through the Windscreen ...
Because the Eyre Highway's 1660 km length**, crossing two monster states, three time zones and the world's largest limestone karst shelf covering 200,000 km² makes a Nullarbor crossing the ultimate Australian rite-of-passage road trip!

The Nullarbor is WAY more than just a long, dusty drive from A to B.
 
With unique Australian AND World Exclusives jostling for position amidst magnificent coastal scenery, remote roadhouses and the opportunity to be truly alone, who WOULDN'T want to experience the wonders of the treeless (Null = none; arbor = tree) plain?

BUT … if you're having trouble picturing how a Nullarbor crossing – perhaps the ultimate Australian travel adventure – is a good thing, here's 6 trip-teasers so you can see what you're missing!!



1 The Golf:

OK, you're on the Nullarbor on (arguably) Australia's greatest road trip and I'm talking GOLF??

Yes.

Even if – like me – you're NOT a golfer, you'll surely want to add a World Exclusive like World's LONGEST golf course to your repertoire, right??

Nullarbor Links stretches 1365 km (848 miles) over 18 holes from the 'CY O'Connor' and 'Golden Mile' holes in Kalgoorlie to 'Denial Bay' and 'Oyster Beds' at Ceduna with 14 other aptly named holes – think 'Skylab' at Balladonia, 'Nullarbor Nymph' at Eucla and 'Dingo's Den' at the Nullarbor Roadhouse – along the way. And you don't have to lug a whole lot of (to me) superfluous golfing gear around either! Hire clubs at each hole!!
 
Brumby's Run, Madura Pass Roadhouse, Nullarbor

MORE about Nullarbor Links!


2 The Bight:

Once across the border into South Australia, the highway skirts the Bunda cliffs with their white base of Wilson Bluff Limestone.

A dramatic edge to the Great Australian Bight – that 1160 km long mouthful shaped chunk that eats into Southern Australia – the impressive 200 km of unbroken cliffs is part of the longest sea-cliff line in the world.
 
The Bunda Cliffs and Bight, Eyre Highway, South Australia
From here, there's NOTHING between you and Antarctica except what we Aussies call the Great Southern Ocean. To the rest of you, it's just part of the Indian Ocean.


3 The Whales and other Wildlife:

Between May and October each year, up to 60 Southern Right Whales migrate to this area to breed and calve. One of the best places to sight them is the northernmost tip of the curve of southern coastline, imaginatively called Head of Bight!
 
Whales at Head of Bight, South Australia

Get below the cliff line on the Great Australian Bight Marine Park's viewing platform that puts you as close to the whales as you can get without getting wet! But don't just drop in like we did – break your journey at the nearby Nullarbor Roadhouse so you can spend all the time you want whale watching.

If whales aren't your thing, birdwatch at the Eyre Bird Observatory – Nullarbor Quail-thrush is only found on the Nullarbor!

Failing that, foolishly driving from dusk onwards will virtually guarantee sightings of wildlife up REAL close ...


Bunda Cliffs up close, South Australia
4 The Exclusives:

A Nullarbor road-trip really is the best way to appreciate Australia's size and scope as well as some experiences to be had nowhere else in Australia – or the World!

During the trip, experience the longest straight stretch of road in Australia!
 
Just how long IS 90-mile straight?? Of course … it's 91.1 miles or 146.6 km!!

And if you miss the bight and longest line of sea-cliffs in the world because you're travelling by train, make up for it by riding the longest straight stretch of railway line in the world – 478 km (297 miles).


90 Mile Straight, Nullarbor Plain, South Australia


Under the world record breaking limestone karst, worn by the weathering of millenia, lies the world's longest cave system complete with rockholes and blowholes, including Koonalda Cave and Murrawijinie Caves near the Nullarbor Roadhouse.

Eucla Signpost, Western Australia
At 2.5 million acres, Rawlinna station is the biggest sheep station in the world! Yes, that makes it bigger than quite a number of countries … although the dry sheep equivalent out here is pretty low!

Taking a photo of the big nothing emptiness isn't too difficult … on roads this long, there's not a lot of other traffic to get in the way!

5 The History:

Perhaps because of its isolation, harsh climate and unique features, the Nullarbor's fascinating history can be experienced along the way.
 
Several settlements and roadhouses are built around the Telegraph line, like Eucla, near the WA/SA border, once the busiest Telegraph Station outside the capital cities when it opened in 1877. Drowning in sand, the ruins can still be accessed by 4WD.

The Eyre Bird Observatory was once an historic Telegraph Station, itself on the site of a watering hole used by Edward John Eyre during his Nullarbor Crossing. Back on the highway, nearby Cocklebiddy was once an Aboriginal mission. Indigenous legend and history is further explored at the Head of Bight Interpretive Centre.

Storm Approaching, Madura Pass, Western Australia


If you can remember back to 1979, spare a thought for Skylab when you reach Balladonia – debris was found at Woorlba Sheep Station 40 km east. A Cultural Heritage Museum in the hotel complex also recreates the area's history including Aboriginal Dreaming legend and Afghan Cameleers.

Not so Scenic! Nullarbor Rest Stop ...
To cement YOUR place in history, pick up a Nullarbor Crossing Certificate from the Norseman Tourist Centre!!
 
6 The Nullarbor Nymph:

The story of a blonde white woman living among kangaroos on the Nullarbor Plain was first reported, perhaps unsurprisingly on the day after Xmas, 1971.
 
After some footage of a woman wearing kangaroo skins was released – did I mention she was half-naked?? – the small town of Eucla (then with a population of 8) on the Western Australian side of the border with South Australia, was swamped by journalists from around the world.

If you don't get to see the real thing ... make do with this! Eucla, Western Australia

Sadly, the Nullarbor Nymph was outed as a hoax in 1972, although perhaps she remains a subliminal fantasy for in the 'best' Aussie tradition, the story of the nymph has been immortalised in a (you'll not be surprised to hear low-budget) film.

The BIG Galah, Kimba, South Australia
Most – if not all – travellers won't get to see the nymph, so will have to content themselves with this Aussie BIG Thing at the Half-way Across Australia mark instead …
 
MORE about the Nullarbor Nymph AND more about the FILM and Kimba's BIG Galah!

* Famous Australian train running from Sydney to Perth ie between the Indian and Pacific oceans!!

** From Norseman, Western Australia to Port Augusta, South Australia – with the accepted limits of the Nullarbor Plain being the ~1200 km from Norseman to Ceduna. The actual distance from Perth to Adelaide is 2700 km.

Just between us, this is only the beginning ... there are WAAAAY more than 6 reasons to attempt a Nullarbor crossing!  But I'll leave finding the rest up to you!!

Interested? Intrigued?? Incited??? THEN … Read MORE:

Last shop for 1000 km, Penong, South Australia

ALL the Aussie ABCs:

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